Creeping Back to Normal

I love this store. Mostly the prices.

I had a serious melt-down, sloppy-cry moment yesterday.

It started out as an ordinary day…morning quiet time, then to my desk to write for about three hours, then figure out routine chore-type things that needed doing.

Like grocery shopping. Which I hate.

However … on the tail end of the COVID panic, we somehow made the dubious decision to buy a 4-DR Jeep Wrangler, which has made all things ‘chore’ a delight, since I’m now toodling around Hilton Head Island in a black Jeep with oversize wheels/tires with no top or doors. This has changed my life for the better all around. Did you know Jeepsters have a ‘wave’? Like the peace sign, only it’s not. When driving a Jeep, one must put a hand at twelve o’clock on the steering wheel in preparation to raise the two designated fingers in a Jeep ‘wave’ upon seeing other Jeep brethren toodling around. Yep. It’s a thing. We are learning all that stuff.

But I digress.

So, breeze blowing through my hair, music pumped up, I’m happily driving to Kroger, which is mid-Island. And I think, well, TJ Maxx is right next door and I might as well go there first. This cheered me up considerably, as the Island has unmasked, for the most part, and it’s not a hideous mask-thing anymore to go shop for clothing, purses, and the like.

I hop out of my Jeep, thinking out of habit … I need to lock it. But no, the doors are off, no need. This also made me smile, and I trotted into the store, twirling the keys around my finger and looking all “Jeep girl.” I pick out a great purse, wander through the rest of the store, pick up another couple things, including a new pair of jean shorts. I guage their size with a sigh, thinking, ohmigosh another piece of clothing I have to take home that I will probably need to return. *I hate returning stuff* just saying. I head toward check-out. Notice the growing hubub at the back of the store.

What do my wandering eyes behold?

I crane my neck to look. “What’s going on?” I ask a fellow crane-necker. He doesn’t know and doesn’t care. I jerk to a stop, pull my cart out of line, and head to the hubub, just for the heck of it. As I draw closer, my heart rate picks up. My eyes moisten.

“It can’t be,” I whisper to myself. I push my cart ever closer, wondering at the mob waiting, their carts filled with clothing. I draw in a breath, and hold it until I’m finally in the center of it all. With a gasp, and a rush of tears, I cry out, “Hallelujah!” Several women, also with tears of relief streaming down their cheeks, give me a smile and a nod. They, too, cannot believe it. I dance to the front of the line and hug the woman checking us in. She laughs.

Yes, it was true. At TJ Maxx on Hilton Head Island … the dressing rooms … are … OPEN!!!

Happy, happy tears.


Staycation Fail

It was all my idea.

When my husband found out he had a couple extra days free before his new job began, he wanted to do something ‘different’. (My husband is very big on ‘different’) Flights to Chicago, or Baltimore, or Atlanta, he said, were at an all-time low rate. I was thinking…two days? The flights alone will take at least half a day. That leaves ONE day to explore a city. So, being the practical and supportive wife that I am (well, sometimes), a STAYcation popped into my head, and why not? We live on Hilton Head Island, for gosh sakes, and NEVER explore the plentiful amenities.

Hyped, and immediately on board, he made reservations at The Sonesta Resort, for which – as a huge bonus – he had points! We got the two nights free! We fluttered around in preparation, packed, dug out our swimsuits, put our bikes on the rack, and headed out.

Upon arrival, we were heady with the tourist spirit. Jim wanted to pretend we were from somewhere exotic. (As I said, he is big on ‘different’) I refused, of course, but he told perfect strangers that he wanted to do it and that seemed to satisfy him. I just rolled my eyes. We oohed and aahhed over the soaring, beautifully decorated lobby, walked the property, and visited the beach. Ate dinner at the resort restaurant. In short, we did what every tourist on the planet that walked through the Sonesta’s doors did. That night, I tossed and turned and could NOT get to sleep.

The perpetrator

The next morning, we enjoyed a sunrise beach walk, then ran home to feed the cats, and ended up eating breakfast and hanging out at our house. A good thing, because one of the cats had gotten stuck in the spare bedroom and, bless his heart, had nowhere to relieve himself other than the bed or the floor. Fortunately, he chose the bed, and I simply threw the whole lot of bedclothes into the washer and threw away two pillows. Easy. Cat poop and pee on the rug is an entirely different matter, and worthy of new carpeting. Yay for Felix who had the discernment to know the lesser of two kitty-evils. With a big sigh of…oh, I don’t know…resignation? we drove back to the resort (all in the name of ‘different’) and resumed touristing in our own playground. We went to the beach. We watched the tourists. We had lunch in the poolside bar. We tromped out to the parking lot, unloaded our bikes and rode around Shipyard on their lovely bike paths. We went back to the hotel. Up to the room. Lay on the bed and studied our phones for an hour. After a while we both realized that we were…what? Yep. Bored.

I missed my cats. I missed my deck. I missed my view. I missed eating food that wouldn’t make me gain weight. (Why don’t restaurants have keto-friendly menus now, anyway?) So when Jim asked where I wanted to go for dinner, I said…wait for it…


He laughed. “Really? You do?”

“I do. What about you?”

Silence. (He has to ponder things)

“I guess I am kind of bored.”

“Me too. And I miss my cats.”


“You sure?”

Sigh. “What do I tell them when they ask why we’re leaving early?”

“Why do you think you have to give a reason?”


“We can stay if you want,” I said.

“That’s okay. I want you to be able to sleep.” (Jim can be really sweet sometimes)


So we went home. Both of us felt relieved.

Moral of story: Staycations don’t really work unless the location is far enough away from home base that it is inconvenient to return, or home base doesn’t have the greatest location or view.

We now know that in our case, since we can rule out BOTH of those things…staycations just don’t work.

At all.

The end.

Taken on our Sonesta Beach sunrise walk

Amazing Podcast that Blew My Mind

Fran Lewis is a legend with writers.

She is a professional reader, an author, and a person of note. She gave me a list of questions about a month ago that gave me the chills and made me dig deep…so deeply into the motivations of my characters that I feel a fresh wind blowing for finishing the next book in the series!! After answering these questions for her podcast I felt empty. Okay Fran, let these people hear it!!

Here’s the link to the podcast. It’s an hour long so listen to it in little bites if you want to. It’s a lot to take in!